10 Songs for Memorial Day

Since 1868, the final Monday in May has been set aside to honor and mourn individuals who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

While many Americans celebrate Memorial Day by grilling, boating, and hitting the beaches, hosts of others visit graves in cemeteries, decorating them (Memorial Day was called Decoration Day originally, and in some places still is), remembering their beloved family and friends felled in their service, or attending parades and public events that honor local fallen heroes.

Ever since that first Memorial Day on May 30, 1868 (Memorial Day was held on May 30 from 1868-1970), music has played a key role in the observances of the day, often with patriotic songs such as “God Bless, America” and “The Star-Spangled Banner”; interestingly, songs that focus on fallen heroes are often few and far between.

This Memorial Day Folk Alley honors those who have died in their service to the US with this collection of songs, from those that deal with the Civil War (“Vacant Chair”) to more recent conflicts (“Angel Flight”).

Iris DeMent – “There’s a Wall in Washington”  

John Gorka – “Let Them In”   

Lucinda Williams – “Soldier’s Song”

Jay Ungar and Molly Mason – “Ashokan Farewell” 

James McMurtry – “Memorial Day” 

Bruce Robison – “Traveling Soldier”  

Radney Foster – “Angel Flight” 

Joan Baez – “The Day After Tomorrow” 

The Kingston Trio – “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”

Kathy Mattea – “Vacant Chair”

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